The OB Media Rundown for 4/18/12

Cops Continue to Take Heat Over ‘Choking’ Photo

After photos depicting a Boston police officer with his hand on the neck of a bandana wearing protester made the rounds on the internet yesterday, the protester in the photo is contemplating legal action against the Boston police, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

http://tinyurl.com/cv8qx67

Boston march for Palestine land day

Hundreds of activists, led by young Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, took to the streets of Boston on March 30 as part of the Global March to Jerusalem, marking Palestine Land Day. The main demands were Free Palestine! No war on Iran or Syria! and Boycott Israel!

The demonstration was sponsored by the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights; the Boston United National Antiwar Coalition; the International Action Center; the Palestine Task Force of United for Justice with Peace; Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine; and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade. It was supported by the Decolonize Boston, Anti-Oppression and People of Color working groups of Occupy Boston, who called for Indigenous rights from the Americas to Palestine.

The protest gathered in Copley Square and was opened by Salma Abu Ayyash, who spoke of the history of Palestine Land Day, commemorating the March 30, 1976, Palestinian general strike, protest and resistance against massive Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land, and the worldwide movement today to end Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Kade Crockford, a militant young lesbian and Boycott, Divest and Sanctions activist, condemned Israel for cynically trying to use lesbian/gay/bi/trans rights to posture as democratic while carrying out genocidal attacks on Gaza.

http://tinyurl.com/d695979

Tax Day Doesn’t Belong to the Tea Party Anymore

This year, if you say “Tax Day” and “social movement,” the Tea Party isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. And if you go looking for a protest, you’ll likely find folks protesting against the tax evaders of the top 1 percent.

http://tinyurl.com/cjrtqnz

ALEC Disbands Task Force Responsible for Stand Your Ground, Voter ID, Prison Privatization, AZ’s SB 1070

Apparently in response to the corporate exodus, and to the contradictions between ALEC’s stated mission and its policies, the organization issued a press release today stating they are “eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force that dealt with non-economic issues” and that they would be “redoubling our efforts on the economic front.”

CMD’s Executive Director Lisa Graves said:

“ALEC’s announcement is a partial victory for the power of grassroots citizen action, but for Americans concerned about brand-name corporations underwriting ALEC’s extreme agenda to make it more difficult for American citizens to vote and to protect armed vigilantes, ALEC’s PR maneuver to try to distance itself from its record of extremism is an empty gesture unless it and the corporations that have bankrolled its operations work to repeal ALEC-backed laws that have advanced the NRA’s agenda and that will impede citizens from voting in the coming elections.”

http://tinyurl.com/bqvs3cb


Do the Wealthy Lie, Cheat and Steal More Than the Rest of Us?

The simple answer appears to be “yes” — in certain circumstances. The research supporting this conclusion was not conducted by Occupy Wall Street, but at the University of California, Berkeley, where social psychologist Paul Piff and a team of graduate students devised a series of experiments to assess the effect of wealth on ethical behavior. Their paper, published at the end of February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the rich are more likely to cut corners than others when confronted with a number of ethical challenges.
. . .

So what’s the deal — are the rich less ethical than the rest of us? Not necessarily, according to Piff. But they do have a greater sense of personal entitlement. If you have money, you come to see it as your due. The affluent view wealth as a virtue, and their own wealth as proof of their own hard work and innate worth. They are rich, in other words, because (in their own minds at least) they deserve it.

And because their feeling of self worth are tied to their ability to acquire wealth, the rich often feel driven to continue to do so — long after their most lavish material desires are met. The insane feeding frenzy on Wall Street prior to the crash may be less about greed than a species of machismo. Money, for the rich, is not just a medium to purchase things; it is a measure of status in that rarefied world where you are judged by the heft of your take home pay.

http://tinyurl.com/czeyc2v

Neoliberal policy institute hosts promotional event for new Occupy book, weirdly tries to align itself with movement

Fact is, the Peterson Institute invited the occupiers in. They hosted “a luncheon meeting to publicize the release of ‘The Occupy Handbook.’” And over steak roulade and fruit tarts, members of Washington’s most elite policy shop allied themselves, in name and economic analysis if not in living situations, with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“I think its fair to say there’s pretty wide agreement on the diagnosis of the problem,” said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute. “A very high degree of income inequality. A very high degree of political polarization. The question is what to do about it?”

John Cassidy, a finance writer for the New Yorker, didn’t mince words. “For economic research institutes like this, I would argue that rather than producing more reports about how efficient the market is — I get 20 of those a day — it might be better to start from the premise that the market is inefficient and decide where we go from here.”

http://tinyurl.com/cc6fezd

Protesters stage mock foreclosure on Wells Fargo Bank

In a scene reminiscent of last fall’s Occupy Seattle protests, several hundred people rallied in downtown Seattle today shouting that the 1 percent needs to pay more in taxes.

Activists marched to the Wells Fargo Bank building on 3rd Avenue and stretched large faux yellow crime scene tape around part of it. They pretended to auction off assets such as the CEO’s salary.

http://tinyurl.com/d2eyu8m

A clash of gardening cultures in South Philadelphia

Powers and his volunteer colleagues – many of whom camped out at City Hall last year during Occupy Philadelphia – are gardening with direct-activism techniques. The Philly Food Forests project aims to turn this blighted block into a biologically diverse, low-maintenance, edible eco-system, a.k.a. a permaculture.

Unlike most urban gardening projects, this one has no plots and no raised beds. Seedlings are put directly into the vacant lot dirt, which is slowly improving through strategic planting and composting.

“People are afraid of soil conditions in the city,” said Robyn Mello, co-founder of Philly Food Forests, now known as Occupy Vacant Lots. “Here we decided we’re working with good soil. It’s something that can be built up over time. There is some lead in the soil, but the levels aren’t dangerous.”

http://tinyurl.com/c3z6rg8

‘Tent State X: Occupy Rutgers’: Congressional candidate supports students

New Brunswick-Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6) hiked to Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus yesterday to speak with students about bills for affordable higher education during the Rutgers University’s 10th annual “Tent State X: Occupy Rutgers.”

While some students traveled to class, others pitched tents for the weeklong event to protest student debt and address multiple issues including the push for the University to disaffiliate with the Fair Labor Association and creating a more sustainable campus.

Pallone, a Rutgers-Newark law school graduate, spoke with Spencer Klein, a Rutgers University junior, and members of the Rutgers University Student Assembly over bills to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans.

http://tinyurl.com/cnot5q3

Occupy Las Cruces rallys in downtown [NM]

Representatives of Occupy Las Cruces Kathy Berg, left, Marty Rennert, Cindy Hill and Stella Field hold signs during a rally on Tuesday in front of the Las Cruces post office near the downtown mall. “We want the top 1-percent of the population to pay their share, and since it is tax day, we thought it was a good day to spread the message to the public,” said Hill.

http://tinyurl.com/cjlju6f

Protesters March against Stockton Police Brutality

Family and friends of James Rivera Jr. and Luther Brown, a man shot by Stockton police officers on Friday, April 6th, came together with members of the Occupy Oakland Movement in a protest on Tuesday, April 10 across the street from the Stockton Police Department headquarters in a demand for justice and a stop to police violence.

Participating members of the rally moved from the Stockton Courthouse to the Stockton Police Department, blocking one of the city`s main arteries- El Dorado Street-during peak traffic hours.
As Police officers moved demonstrators from the street, tension grew and the rally moved to Martin Luther King Park.

http://tinyurl.com/bt22hk9

Students hear Occupy and Tea Party voices at Benedictine mock rally [Il]

Keith Knutter, chapter relations officer for the Ayn Rand Institute and a self-described “unapologetic radical capitalist,” reminded the students gathered for the Tea Party rally that “no one owns you,” and likened the Occupy movement to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.
In their simultaneous rally just outside the Rice Center field house, Occupy Naperville participants engaged in their trademark chants of “We are the 99 percent!” and emphasized their platform’s major planks: economic and social justice, honest government, grass roots democracy, responsible use of resources and nonviolence.
Social activist and author Dick Nogaj of Wheaton cautioned during a presentation later in the morning that “big corporations today are draining the future of our society” and urged the students to learn about the Occupy movement, noting that its 99 Percent Declaration itemizes the members’ primary concerns.

http://tinyurl.com/cfv4obp

Activists Deliver ‘Tax Bills’ To Big Corporations On Tax Day [Il]

About 200 people, many of them Occupy Chicago protesters, gathered at Federal Plaza on Tuesday to send a message on this Tax Day 2012.

http://tinyurl.com/czowenv

Occupy Venice: Tax Day 4-17-12 [CA]

In honor of today’s IRS Tax filing deadline, Occupy Venice has taken to the streets in front of the Venice Post office, Windward Circle and Bank of America.

They have police officers stationed outside of the post office doors as well as across the street on Windward. Not much going on besides people honking horns in support of the demonstrators.

http://tinyurl.com/c7a72c8

Labor, Occupy protesters march through downtown LA on Tax Day

A march that an organizer said was for “calling out corporate tax dodgers” took place in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, drawing hundreds of demonstrators from mostly service unions and fair labor organizations.

“As you know, today is Tax Day,” said Refugio Mata, a spokesperson for Good Jobs L.A. “Today I think is a turning point. Sometimes average people pay 30, 35 percent and people like Mitt Romney pay 15 percent. We just want a future for our kids.”

The organization seeks to raise awareness of what has been dubbed the “Buffett rule,” an initiative which was blocked by the Senate yesterday. They also support an initiative backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would raise the sales tax and state income tax, according to Mata.

http://tinyurl.com/cx54gg5

Group holding ‘Tax Wealth, Not Work’ protest at Cherrybell Post Office [AZ]

If you haven’t turned in your tax return yet, you may run in to a group of Tucsonans outside the Cherrybell Post Office who protesting for the “Tax Wealth, Not Work,” Day of Action.

Here’s what the group had to say about their planned protest:

“Join us as we take back tax day for working families. Working people invest in America with their hard work and their tax dollars. We believe we need a better balance. America can create jobs again and expand the middle class but that means investing in education, roads, bridges and transportation, not more tax giveaways for the 1%.” From the leaflet: “Save our postal service and save JOBS. We are especially angry at the threatened loss of hundreds of good paying local jobs and mail service disruption in Southern Arizona. United together — public sector unions, the entire labor movement, the Occupy movement and our communities — the time to stand up and push back is NOW!”

http://tinyurl.com/c2tam78

Protest Targets Corporate Tax Code [MO]

A group of protesters used Tuesday’s tax deadline to make a statement about the current tax system.

Members of several liberal groups, including the Occupy KC movement, marched from Barney Allis Plaza to the corporate headquarters of Kansas City Power and Light and the downtown office of the Bank of America.

The group said they represent the 99 percent of Americans who aren’t wealthy.

http://tinyurl.com/8a9dj4r

‘Tax Dodgers’ protest outside Ann Romney birthday luncheon [NY]

“Take me out to the tax game.”

That’s what protesters donning Dodger-esque baseball uniforms sang today – the deadline for filing taxes – on the streets of Manhattan, as they protested what they say are corporate tax loopholes.  Members of several local unions including UFT, New York Communities for Change and 32BJ, participated in the Tax Day protest.

http://tinyurl.com/7emwfgg

In downtown Portland, Tax Day dodge ball game aims at corporations

The nonprofit advocacy group We Are Oregon organized a rousing lunch-hour bracket of Tax Dodger Ball at Terry Schrunk Federal Plaza. The point, said spokesman Angus Maguire, was “to deliver a pointed message about corporate tax dodgers.”

The energetic competition took place in the park’s amphitheater where Occupy Portland held its nightly consensus-building general assemblies during last fall’s encampment at Lownsdale and Chapman squares.

http://tinyurl.com/6rcpdmh

UC Berkeley economists contribute to just-released “Occupy Handbook”

“The Occupy Handbook,” a new publication examining the factors contributing to the Occupy Wall Street movement – as well as where it stands now and where it goes next – contains contributions by leading economic scholars, including UC Berkeley’s own economists Emmanuel Saez, Brad DeLong and Robert Reich. The book hit the bookstore shelves today (Tuesday, April 17).

Saez is well known for his work on income inequality; DeLong is an economic historian with one of the most popular blogs dealing with economics and politics; and Reich recently described himself in a blog post as “a class worrier” rather than a class warrior.

http://tinyurl.com/6r98co4

Group launches effort to recall Sweetwater school trustees [CA]

A brouhaha that involved police Monday night after a Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting capped a contentious evening that started with a news conference to kick off efforts to recall trustees in the South Bay district.

http://tinyurl.com/cdcgk6b

Glenn Innes housing protest arrests [New Zealand]

A woman needed hospital treatment after a confrontation between protesters and police in Glen Innes last night where activists including John Minto were arrested.

Witnesses claimed police used excessive force at the protest, but policy deny that, saying they acted professionally in a “tricky, emotional situation”.

Occupy Auckland, Mana and local housing activists were among those attempting to stop state houses being removed from two properties at Glen Innes.

http://tinyurl.com/btlarqu

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